How the Raiders performed in a 27-14 victory over the Broncos on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium:
It was an impressive final effort, the Raiders for a fourth straight week managing 20 or more points. Rookie Aidan O’Connell made his final argument for being the team’s future starter at quarterback, completing 20 of 31 passes for 244 yards and two scores. He also directed a 12-play, 98-yard scoring drive. Zamir White, quite possibly next season’s starter at running back depending on what occurs with Josh Jacobs, rushed 25 times for 112 yards. He totaled 397 since replacing the injured Jacobs (quadriceps). Jakobi Meyers scored twice via a 5-yard run and a 33-yard catch. Davante Adams secured his fourth straight season with 100-plus receptions and 1,000-plus yards.
A fairly dominant effort. This side of the ball put an exclamation point on the improvement that has been seen since Antonio Pierce took over as interim coach. Maxx Crosby had a sack to total 14½ on the season and finished with 23 tackles for loss, a career high and tying Khalil Mack for the most in a season in franchise history. Crosby also had 90 tackles, just the fifth defensive lineman in the NFL to reach that number in a season since 2000. Robert Spillane led the Raiders with 12 tackles, and Divine Deablo added 10. The Raiders sacked Denver quarterback Jarrett Stidham five times.
Special teams: A
Whoever the next coach is — Pierce or someone else — will have the luxury of two of the league’s best at their positions. Daniel Carlson made both his field-goal attempts (49 and 21 yards). He has made 88 percent of them since his rookie season of 2018. Pro Bowl punter AJ Cole averaged 58.5 yards on four attempts with a long of 66.
Whether he gets the full-time job or not, you can’t say Pierce didn’t change the culture and energy of the Raiders. He went 5-4 after taking over for the fired Josh McDaniels and had a locker room full of players that bought into his every word and message. Patrick Graham will certainly garner looks from other teams with his job as defensive coordinator if things don’t work out in Las Vegas. He might have his own decision to make no matter how the head coaching decision goes.
Ed Graney, a Sigma Delta Chi Award winner for sports column writing, can be reached at email@example.com. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on X.